Three Chinese companies - Quectel, Fibocom and China Mobile - already have 54 percent of the global market in devices and 75 percent by connectivity

China Spying On You Via Smart Bulb, Fridge Or Car: Report

China is watching you via smart bulbs, fridges, cars and credit cards by “weaponizing” microchips embedded in them, reported Asian Lite International.

More specifically the threat revolves around four areas: national security, economic prosperity, privacy, and values and human rights.

Three Chinese companies – Quectel, Fibocom and China Mobile – already have 54 percent of the global market in devices and 75 percent by connectivity. Customers of the three Chinese firms include computing firms Dell, Lenovo, HP and Intel, carmaker Tesla and card payments firm Sumup.

Like all Chinese firms, they must hand over data to the Chinese government if ordered to, which means the Chinese Communist Party can get access to as many devices as they want, reported Asian Lite International.

Devices with modules include: laptop computer; voice-controlled smart speaker; smart watches; smart energy meter; fridges, light bulbs and other appliances that can be controlled via the app; body-worn police cameras; doorbell cameras and security cameras; Bank card payment machines, cars and even hot tubs, reported Asian Lite International.

The modules collect data and then transmit it via 5G networks, giving China the opportunity to monitor the movements of intelligence targets including people, weapons and supplies, and to use the devices for industrial espionage. Millions of them are already in use in the UK.

“Trojan horse” technology poses a “widespread” threat to Britain’s national security, according to a report sent to the British government by Charles Parton, a former diplomat who advised parliament on Beijing.

Parton spent 22 years of his diplomatic career working in or in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and has advised the Foreign Office and the European Union on Chinese affairs, as well as being Special Adviser to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on China.

The report says ministers have completely failed to understand the threat posed by the “widespread presence” of modules known as cellular IoT – a concern echoed by senior MPs, reported Asian Lite International.

It calls on ministers to take immediate action to ban Chinese-made cellular IoT from goods sold in the UK before it is too late.

“We are not yet aware of the threat,” said Charles Parton. “China has seen an opportunity to dominate this market, and if it does it can collect a lot of data as well as, also can make foreign countries dependent on them.”

“Dependency is dangerous when it is in the hands of the CCP, a potential, if not actual, hostile power,” added Preston.

The potential threat to national security is greater than that posed by Chinese-made components in mobile phone masts, prompting the government to ban Huawei products used in mobile infrastructure, a report published Monday by Washington-based consultancy OODA said.

Cellular IoTs – which stands for Internet of Things – are tiny modules used in everything from smart fridges to advanced weapons systems to monitor usage and feed data back to the owner and often the manufacturer using 5G.

The possibilities of espionage are huge. Coupled with artificial intelligence and machine learning to process massive amounts of data, the report suggests tracking US arms sales activities, reported Asian Lite International.

It can also serve to identify and address royal and diplomatic security officers, then monitor their cars during advance security sweeps to track visiting ministers.

Even innocuous applications such as agricultural machinery, which also use the equipment, can help the Chinese find weaknesses in Western supply chains, such as poor harvests of a particular crop, then undercut British suppliers. Seizing market share, making the West more dependent on Chinese exports.

Allowing China to form a monopoly on the manufacture of the equipment – which is subsidized by the Chinese state to make them cheaper than Western competitors – would leave the West entirely dependent on China for the supply of the strategically important component, reported Asian Lite International.

The report by OODA recommended a full audit of government assets to replace equipment where necessary and suggested that companies operating in sensitive sectors like defence be asked to complete the work by the end of 2025. (ANI)

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Armed Forces BRO Rajnath

‘Armed Forces, BRO Ready To Defend’: Rajnath

Indian Armed forces and Border Road Organisation are prepared to defend the country against any conflict, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday emphasising that India does not believe in war and always wants to maintain cordial relations with its neighbours.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was speaking during the inauguration of the Siyom Bridge of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
This is Singh’s first visit to Arunachal Pradesh after the face-off between Indian and China troops in the Tawang area on December 9.

The Defence Minister today inaugurated 28 infrastructure projects built by the BRO across seven states. These projects are going to be built to facilitate the movement of heavy artillery and the movement of the troops of the Indian Armed Forces along borders.

“In this era of changing priorities and interests of the nations, it is necessary for any nation to keep itself empowered. Although, India has always remained against war as its policy. Our Armed forces are always ready to face any kind of situation and Border Road Organisation is walking along with them,” Rajnath Singh said.

He further added that PM Modi’s government is working on developing better and smooth commuting facilities for the people in the country, especially in the North-East areas.

“PM Modi’s government is working on developing better and smooth commuting facilities for the people in the country, especially in the North-East areas. These roads are significant from the strategic point of view too,” Singh said.

He further added that a large number of Armed forces personnel are deployed in areas where no transportation is available throughout the year, and in winter most of the roads get closed due to snowfall. These projects will provide extreme help in the delivery of rations, military equipment, and other help,

At the event, Singh also released the ‘Vision BRO@2047’ document that will guide the organization about its deadline and targets in the next 25 years. The document is a comprehensive study based on an analysis of BRO’s Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities, and Threats. It will help BRO to achieve new capabilities with more power.

“I appreciate the role and contribution of BRO in strengthening Border Security. For example a few days back the situation we faced in the northern sector, and the way we faced adversaries, was not possible without adequate infrastructural development. Such situations will keep us inspired for the development of border areas. And I can proudly say that we have a dedicated organization-BRO for development in these areas,” he said.

He said that infrastructure development transforms lives the lives of f people living in Border areas it is a game changer for locals.

“In plains, the government is constructing smart roads but in many Border areas roads are scarce. Many areas even don’t have basic tracks. In such remote areas, the government has initiated several welfare schemes along with basic civic amenities like electricity, telecommunications, education, and health that require connectivity,” Singh said.

“Despite being beautiful and full of natural resources, the entire North East region remained ignored from development. Even after several years of freedom, the region was ignored in the name of security issues or connectivity and remains deprived of basic facilities and it has largely affected the economy of the region,” he said.

The Defence Minister said that the North-East region is important not only for the development of the entire nation but is a gateway to east Asia and strengthens relations with East Asia in terms of trade, travel, and tourism. For this reason, the development of the region is the priority of the government

“A total of 28 projects at the cost of Rs 724.3 crore are being undertaken by BRO across the country in strategic locations – including eight in Ladakh, two in Rajasthan, three each in Uttarakhand and Punjab and four have been identified in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh added.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lauded the spirit and speed with which the BRO carried out development works in the recent past.

“The spirit and speed with which the BRO has carried out development works in the recent past are commendable. The plan to connect more and more border areas is the priority of the government, so that along with the development of the people living there, they can develop a sense of trust in the system,” said Singh.

Defence Minister further called the Border Roads Organisation actual brothers of the armed forces and people.

“I used to confuse BRO (Border Roads Organisation) with ‘Bro’ means brother but after seeing the work they are doing, they are actually brothers of our Armed forces and people,” he said.

The visit comes a month after Indian and China troops clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector.

The 100-metre-long Siyom bridge over river Siyom is a strategically important bridge as it gives the military a strategic advantage in deploying troops to the far-flung areas of the Line of Actual Control. (ANI)

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Jaishankar about China LAC

China Has Unilaterally Tried To Change LAC: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar on Monday lambasted China for trying to unilaterally change the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In an interview with the Austrian ZIB2 podcast, a daily news magazine of ORF television, Jaishankar said, “We had an agreement not to unilaterally change the LAC, which they have tried to unilaterally do. So there is, I think, an issue, a perception that we have which derives directly from our experiences.”
The Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake in the west of the LAC, have hosted flashpoints in recent years. In the east Tawang was the site of the latest India-China scuffle.

“I think there’s a larger concern based on our experiences. The concern is that we had agreements with China not to amass forces in our border areas, and they have not observed those agreements, which is why we have the currently tense situation that we do,” he said.

Recently, India and China held the 17th Round of Corps Commander Level Meeting at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side on December 20 and agreed to maintain security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector.

Speaking about China trying to change the status quo, he said that China may blame India for not following the agreements, however, the satellite pictures could clearly show who was at the fault.

“Now, where else the status quo may change or not change? I would hesitate as a foreign minister to predict publicly. I may have my own views and assessments, but I certainly can share my experience. And my experience is that written agreements were not observed and that we have seen levels of military pressure, which, in our view, has no justification. China would say the opposite. They would say that India had not obeyed different agreements. But obviously, no, I think it’s difficult for China to say that. For this reason, the record is very clear, because today there’s a lot of transparency. You have satellite pictures. If you see who moved the forces to the border areas first, I think the record is very clear. So it’s very difficult for China to say what you suggested they could,” said Jaishankar.

Commenting on India which is likely to overtake China as the most populous country, and its place in world politics, Jaishankar said, “India will probably overtake China as the world’s most populous country within this year. Is this fact of any political significance to India, or is it just a mere statistic? You know, we’ll know that when we reach there, won’t we? Because we have never used numbers in that manner. Maybe other countries have. I would still say it is a statistic to a large extent,” to ZIB2.

He also highlighted the need for reforms in the United Nations, saying that the world’s most populous country is not among the permanent members of the Security Council.

“What does it say about the state of the UN? If that is the case? So it’s both a yes and a no. It’s partly a statistic, but I think it’s a statistic that means a lot. For several years, you have called for a permanent seat on the Security Council as if Brazil as Japan, or Germany. How long will it take, from your point of view, till this reform of the Council will actually become reality? Well, ideally, we’d like it yesterday, of course, but the problem, I think, is that those who are today enjoying the benefits of permanent membership clearly are not in a hurry to see the reform. I think it’s a very short-sighted view, in my opinion, because at the end of the day, the credibility of the UN, and frankly, their own interests and effectiveness, is at stake. So my sense is it will take some time, hopefully not too much time,” said Jaishankar.

He also underscored that the UN is not represented evenly, he said, “I can see a growing body of opinion among UN members who believe that there must be change. It’s not just us. You have entire Africa, entire Latin America left out developing countries vastly underrepresented, I think, the state of the world. This was an organization invented in 1945. It’s 2023. And when you would have to guess for a year when this will happen, what would it be? No, I wouldn’t guess, because I know the complexities of this process. It’s a tough one. I would be honest with you. It’s a tough one. But I don’t think we should give up because it’s a tough one. On the contrary, because it’s a tough one, we should actually up the ante, increase the feeling in bad parts of the world that this reform is essential.” (ANI)

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New Chinese Foreign Min Qin

New Chinese Foreign Min Qin Seeks Improved Ties With India

China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang, in an op-ed piece for US-based magazine, The National Interest, has indicated that Beijing seeks to improve ties with New Delhi.

Days before replacing Wang Yi, Qin in an article titled “How China Sees the World”, referred to India-China border issues and said, “both sides are willing to ease the situation and jointly protect peace along their borders.”

The Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake in the west of the LAC, have hosted flashpoints in recent years. In the east in Tawang, the site of the latest scuffle, there are discussions about Buddhist holy sites whose control can have implications for China’s authority over Tibet and its next spiritual leader according to a report in Newsweek.

Recently, India and China held the 17th Round of Corps Commander Level Meeting at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side on December 20 and agreed to maintain security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector.

“In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The MEA statement said the two sides agreed to stay in close contact, maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.

Qin, meanwhile also blamed the US for challenging the status quo on Taiwan, and Japan for altering the status quo in the South China Sea.

“China’s development means a stronger force for peace, not a growing power poised to ‘break the status quo’, as some call it. The tension across the Taiwan Strait was not created by the Chinese mainland breaking the status quo, but by ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists and external forces continually challenging the status quo of ‘one China’,” Qin wrote.

“In the case of the East China Sea, it was Japan who attempted to ‘nationalize’ Diaoyu Dao ten years ago, altering the “status quo” between China and Japan by agreeing to put aside differences. In the South China Sea, the status quo is that regional countries are consulting on a code of conduct that will lead to meaningful and effective rules for the region,” he wrote.

Earlier, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a phone call with Qin, discussed the Washington-Beijing ties and keeping the lines of communication open.

Taking to Twitter, Blinken said, “Spoke by phone this morning with incoming People’s Republic of China Foreign Minister Qin Gang as he departs Washington for his new role. We discussed the US-PRC relationship and maintaining open lines of communication.”

Qin, who was China’s ambassador to the United States, was appointed as the country’s new foreign minister on Friday.

This decision was made by the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, Global Times reported.

Qin, 56, replaced Wang, who is now a Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and State Councillor, the report added.

On Thursday, the Chinese ambassador had warned Washington that it could face “military conflict” with Beijing over the future status of Taiwan.

“If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in a military conflict,” Qin told US-based publication NPR in his first one-on-one interview since assuming his post in Washington, last July.

Qin, who arrived in Washington last year at a time of bipartisan discontent with China, told NPR that any idea of “changing China” was always “an illusion”. (ANI)

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Nepal's Pokhara Airport

Nepal’s Pokhara Airport Under China’s Belt-Road Radar

Ahead of the inauguration of Nepal’s new Pokhara airport, in a surprise announcement, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu has tweeted, “This (Pokhara airport) is the flagship project of the China-Nepal Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation,” writes Anil Giri, in The Kathmandu Post.

Notably, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday inaugurated the country’s third international airport.
“The Pokhara International Airport has been inaugurated today. With this, the city now is in connection with the international market,” Dahal announced.

The Chinese Embassy tweet comes at a time when Kathmandu reiterated that no project under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative has been signed and Nepal and China are working to finalize the text of project implementation under the BRI, reported The Kathmandu Post.

After Nepal and China signed the framework agreement on BRI in 2017, Nepal initially selected 35 projects to be undertaken under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s flagship connectivity project.

Later, upon Beijing’s request, the total number of projects was whittled down to nine with Pokhara airport off the list. The government signed a USD 215.96 million soft loan agreement with China in March 2016 for the construction of the new airport in the lake city, said Giri.

The loan agreement between the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and China EXIM Bank does not mention the BRI.

At least three officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Tourism told the Post that loan negotiations for the project had begun before the BRI was conceptualized in China.

The Chinese Embassy’s claim, therefore, is their own interpretation, which the Nepali side does not own up to, they said, reported Giri.

Even when the project completion ceremony of the Pokhara airport was held in Kathmandu during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit in March last year, there was no mention from either side of BRI in connection with the airport.

If the Chinese Embassy says that this airport is built under BRI, this is their definition, a foreign ministry official said. “What we have agreed as of now is that China will fund two other projects under the BRI.”

“Pokhara airport was conceived of long ago and as per our rather in-depth conversations with the Chinese side, it does not fall under the BRI framework,” the official added.

“But the thing is, now, all kinds of Chinese assistance either in the form of loan or grant, or any project undertaken or completed by the Chinese, are being defined as falling under the BRI. As per our definition, this particular project does not fall under the BRI framework.”

The previous Sher Bahadur Deuba government communicated to the Chinese side that Nepal does not want loans and preference would be given to grants considering the size and nature of Nepal’s economy said, Giri.

If unavoidable, a loan should come with the interest on par with a multilateral lender or not exceed one percent per annum. In most cases, the interest rate of projects under the BRI is two to four percent. The Deuba government also made clear that Nepal is not in a position to take commercial loans to fund the project, reported The Kathmandu Post.

The Nepali side is also looking for a similar arrangement for the repayment of loans under the BRI, extending the period to 40 years and beyond. Nepali officials have also called for fair and open competition among the bidders for BRI projects.

Speaking with journalists on April 22, 2022, outgoing Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi said the BRI consists of both grants and commercial loans.

“It is based on a cooperative modality that includes grants and commercial cooperation,” she said.

Hou said that many of the projects that China is currently building in Nepal fall under the BRI framework.

“This (BRI) is a long project. The projects that are being constructed in Nepal under BRI have three modalities. First, it is like Gautam Buddha Airport in Lumbini where ADB has invested and Chinese contractors have worked. Second, the modality of Pokhara Airport where China’s commercial loans and grants are there and the construction company is also Chinese,” Hou said.

“And the third modality is like the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. The responsibility of improving this airport has been given to a Chinese company and the cost will be borne by the Nepal government.”

In bilateral documentation, none of these projects has gotten grants or loans earmarked BRI, finance ministry officials said, reported The Kathmandu Post.

“Publicity is one thing but in documentation or while signing the loan negotiation or negotiating the projects, the Chinese side never said Pokhara Airport falls under the BRI,” the finance ministry official added.

The Chinese Embassy in its press note has further said, “The new airport is designed and built in accordance with the standards of China and the International Civil Aviation Organization, which reflects the quality of Chinese projects, symbolizes the national pride of Nepal, and becomes a remarkable sign for China and Nepal to jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative.”

“In March this year, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Nepal and attended the completion ceremony of the construction … of the airport. Several prime ministers of Nepal also visited and promoted the project construction,” the embassy said.

A joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said that loan negotiations for the project had begun in 2008, ruling out the BRI component in the airport.

Former Nepali ambassador to China Leela Mani Paudyal said it is difficult to determine which project falls under the BRI, reported The Kathmandu Post.

“I don’t know whether this particular project falls under the framework of BRI or is funded under the BRI scheme. Of late, all Chinese investment–grant or loan–is tagged as BRI cooperation.”

By this definition, this particular project may fall under the BRI but, again, there is no clear demarcation between a BRI and a non-BRI project, said Paudyal. (ANI)

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COVID Cases in China

China: Amid Rise In COVID Cases, Hospitals Cancel New Year Holiday

As COVID-19 cases in China continue to rise, hospitals in many cities have started working overtime during New Year’s day to fight against the epidemic, Global Times reported.

All employees of the Third Municipal Hospital of Qinhuangdao in China’s Hebei province cancelled their vacations during the New Year’s day holidays in 2023 to address the needs of patients undergoing medical treatment, Global Times reported citing a notice released on the WeChat account of the hospital on Thursday.
Hospitals in Chinese provinces, including Shanxi, Hebei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, and Heilongjiang issued a similar notice, as per the news report. Employees in local hospitals have been working overtime during the holidays to ensure the treatment of patients amid the epidemic wave as part of the overall coordination of the epidemic prevention and control departments to optimize epidemic prevention policies and ensure scientific treatment, according to Global Times.

Districts in Shanghai, including Jiading, Minhang, and Songjiang have improved their management measures for graded treatment to divert non-urgent COVID patients from top-tier hospitals as infections and critical cases peaked in recent days.

In order to address the peak of the epidemic that is expected to come during the New Year holidays, China’s Zhejiang province has given six tasks to local medical institutions, including improving the service capacity of fever clinics, improving service accessibility convenience and improving the ability to conduct treatment of local patients, according to Global Times.

Speaking at a briefing on the latest epidemic response on Tuesday, Liang Wannian, head of the COVID-19 response expert panel under the National Health Commission (NHC), stressed that more precise and scientific prevention and control must be taken as the time of the peak of the epidemic will vary in different regions of China.

Liang Wannian stated that the treatment of severe cases, and ensuring daily medical needs should be kept at an important spot while the prevention and control and treatment capacity building in rural areas should be placed in a more prominent position, as per the news report.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on December 28 announced that the US will require a negative COVID-19 test from all travellers arriving in the country from China as well as those from Hong Kong and Macau.

“CDC is announcing today that it will implement a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery for air passengers boarding flights to the United States originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau,” the CDC said in a statement released on its website.

“CDC is announcing this step to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States during the surge in COVID-19 cases in the PRC given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC, it added. (ANI)

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China COVID-19 Xi

China Facing Tough Challenges Due To COVID-19: Xi

China is facing “tough challenges” as it enters “a new phase” in its COVID-19 response, President Xi Jinping said in his annual new year’s address on Saturday

“We have now entered a new phase of COVID response where tough challenges remain,” Xi said in his new year message to the nation.
Calling the process of Covid responses “tough challenges,” Xi said that with extraordinary efforts, China has prevailed over unprecedented difficulties and challenges.

“In 2022, we successfully convened the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). An ambitious blueprint has been drawn for building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, sounding a clarion call of the times for us forging ahead on a new journey,” he said.

Talking about the Chinese economy, China’s President said that the country’s finance has remained the second largest in the world and enjoyed sound development, according to the statement.

He also said that the GDP is expected to exceed 120 trillion yuan for the whole year. Despite a global food crisis, China has secured a bumper harvest for the 19th year in a row, putting the country in a stronger position to ensure the food supply of the Chinese people.

“We have consolidated our gains in poverty elimination and advanced rural revitalization across the board. We have introduced tax and fee cuts and other measures to ease the burden on businesses, and made active efforts to solve the most pressing difficulties of deep concern to the people,” Xi said.

Recalling Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who passed away in November, Xi said that he paid high tribute to his towering achievements and noble demeanour, the statement reads.

“Today’s China is a country where dreams become a reality. The Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games concluded with a resounding success. Chinese winter sports athletes gave their all and achieved extraordinary results. Shenzhou-13, Shenzhou-14, and Shenzhou-15 soared into the heavens. China’s space station was fully completed and our “home in space” is roving in the deep-blue sky,” Xi said.

He further added, ” The people’s armed forces marked the 95th birthday and all service members are marching confidently on the great journey of building a strong military. China’s third aircraft carrier Fujian was launched. C919, China’s first large passenger aircraft, was delivered. And the Baihetan hydropower station went into full operation… None of these achievements would have been possible without the sweat and toil of numerous Chinese people. Sparks of talent are coming together, and they are the strength of China!” (ANI)

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Dalai Lama about China

China’s Efforts To Destroy Buddhism Won’t Succeed: Dalai Lama

In a sharp attack on China’s moves to eliminate Buddhism, the Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said China is attempting to target and destroy Buddhism but it won’t succeed.

Speaking on the third and last day teaching program at Kalachakra Maidan in Bodh Gaya on Saturday, the Tibetan spiritual leader accused China of considering Buddhism poisonous and of carrying out a systematic campaign to destroy and weed it out from China, by destroying its institutions, but it has totally failed in doing so.
At the Bodh Gaya event Dalai Lama said, “We have strong faith in Buddha dharma, when I visit trans-Himalayan regions, I find local people very devoted to dharma and it is the case in Mongolia and in China too though the system (Chinese government) sees dharma as poison and tried to destroy it, they are not successful. Buddhism was harmed by the Chinese government. Buddhism could not be destroyed by China. Even today, there are many people who believe in Buddhism in China.”

Dalai Lama said that the Chinese government destroyed many Buddhist Viharas, but the number of followers of Buddhism has not decreased in China.

He said that many Buddhist monasteries still exist in China and people there have a deep connection with Buddhism.

“Those who are showing faith in me as well as faith in Buddhism must accept the Bodhicitta (spiritual awakening) that I am imparting. Be it Tibetan or Mongolian or China, there are many Buddhist monasteries in China. I have been to China many times. Many Buddha Viharas exist there even today. People have Buddhism and Buddha in their minds. There is a lot of attachment towards Buddhism. The Chinese have an ancient relationship with Buddhism,” he said.

He asked to practice Bodhicitta for the benefit of self or others.

“If we look at Tibetan tradition also, Shakyas practice Bodhicitta in Nigama, Bodhicitta keeps the mind and body long and gives longevity. This also gives good sleep. Looking at the welfare of all, nothing can be better than this. Through the practice of Bodhicitta, the evils and sorrows within can be removed,” Dalai Lama said.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu also attended a teaching program by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama at Kalachakra Maidan in Bodh Gaya on Saturday.

More than 80,000 Buddhist devotees heard the discourse by the Dalai Lama.

A group of high-ranking Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks, who were on a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya recently, sought his Holiness Dalai Lama’s visit to Sri Lanka, which is reeling under a severe economic crisis.

They met the Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya on December 27 and were overwhelmed by witnessing a large gathering at the holy city.

The high-ranking monk wished the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka and help to overcome the economic hardships his country has been facing currently. (ANI)

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ITBP Guards Indo-China Border

ITBP Guards Indo-China Border, None Can Take An Inch: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday asserted that he is never worried about the India-China border as he knows that the ITBP personnel is guarding the borders there and “because of this, no one can occupy even an inch of India’s land”.

Shah was speaking at the inauguration of newly constructed buildings of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) here in Karnataka’s Devanhalli region and laying the foundation stone for a Central Detective Training Institute (CDTI) of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).
In his address, the Home Minister lauded the Himveers of ITBP for their dedicated service to the nation and said the government has been undertaking all possible steps to make the service conditions of the jawans better.

He said that ITBP serves in very difficult conditions and the nation knows the jawans as ‘Himveers’.

“The ITBP has been doing yeomen service to the Nation by keeping the toughest borders on the Himalayas safe in inhospitable conditions,” said the Home Minister.

“People have bestowed ITBP jawans the title of ‘Himveer’ which is bigger than Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan.”

Shah said: “No one can occupy even an inch of India’s land as he knows that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel are guarding the frontiers.”

His remarks came days after the December 9 clashes along the Line of Actual Control between the Indian and Chinese forces at the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, Prahlad Joshi; Chief Minister of Karnataka, Vasavraj Bommai; Home Minister of Karnataka, Araga Jnanendra; Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education Minister, Karnataka, K Sudhakar; DG ITBP Anish Dayal Singh; and DG BPR&D, Balaji Srivastava, were also present on the occasion.

Shah’s remarks came days after the recent clash near Yangtse along the LAC in the sensitive sector took place after the over 30-month border standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh.

“On December 9, PLA troops contacted the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tawang Sector which was contested by own (Indian) troops in a firm and resolute manner. This face-off led to minor injuries to few personnel from both sides,” the Indian Army had said in a statement earlier this month.

“Both sides immediately disengaged from the area. As a follow up of the incident, own (Indian) commander in the area held a flag meeting with his counterpart to discuss the issue in accordance with structured mechanisms to restore peace and tranquillity,” it had said.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told in parliament that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh and unilaterally change the status quo but they went back to their locations due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders.

Giving a statement in the House, the Defence Minister had also assured the Upper House that “our forces are committed to protecting our territorial integrity and will continue to thwart any attempt made on it”. (ANI)

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UK Covid Test Mandatory For Travellers From China

UK To Make Covid Test Mandatory For Travellers From China

After India and Japan, the UK is also likely to make Covid-19 tests mandatory for travellers from China after the infection surged in the mainland, Reuters reported citing British media outlets.

The travellers from China have to produce a negative COVID test report.
According to Reuters citing UK media reports, the UK government is all set to announce the new China arrival policy without providing specific details about the time.

This comes at a time when the United States is considering imposing new Covid-19 measures on travellers coming from China amid the surge of new Covid cases, Reuters reported citing a US official.

“There are mounting concerns in the international community on the ongoing COVID-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data, being reported from the PRC,” the officials said, using the initials of the People’s Republic of China, according to Reuters.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday announced that the RT-PCR test had been made mandatory for passengers coming from five countries including China.

“The RT-PCR test to be mandatory for international arrivals from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand. On arrival, if any passenger from these countries is found symptomatic or tests positive for Covid-19 infection, then he/she will be put under quarantine,” Health Minister Mandaviya said in a conversation with ANI.

Taking note of the rising cases of COVID globally, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said that the Centre and States need to work in “tandem” and in a “collaborative spirit” as was done during the previous surges.

Meanwhile, Japan also imposed Mandatory testing for COVID-19 from December 30 upon arrival for travellers from China due to an increase in the number of confirmed cases there, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

The measure applies to travellers from mainland China and those who visited it within the past seven days. They are required to take a COVID-19 test upon their arrival in Japan. Those who test positive will be quarantined for seven days. The Kyodo news agency said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the decision on Tuesday.

In November, China saw a record increase in local COVID-19 outbreaks. Due to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation, the authorities introduced partial lockdowns in some areas while also forcing their residents to undergo PCR testing on a daily basis.

In particular, starting from November 24, restrictive measures were tightened in a number of China’s major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

Against this background, some Chinese cities — Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and others — were hit by mass protests. The rioters demanded the immediate lifting of lockdowns, the abolition of regular PCR testing, and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

On Friday, media reported that about 37 million people in China could have contracted COVID-19 on a single day last week, making the country’s outbreak the largest in the world.

It was noted that up to 248 million people, or nearly 18 per cent of the population, were likely to have contracted the coronavirus in the first 20 days of December.

The Embassy of Japan in Beijing has said that many employees of Japanese firms operating in China are getting infected with COVID-19 and are being asked to work from home, NHK World reported.

Plants are also functioning with lower capacities in China. Speaking to NHK, Yoshikawa Akinobu, head of the Japan External Trade Organization’s office in Qingdao, said that COVID-19 began spreading quickly around December 16. (ANI)

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